Psychedelic drugs can also have mind-altering properties in the physical sense. Recent research, released yesterday in the Cell Reports, discovered that psychedelic drugs, namely DOI, DMT, and LSD, can alter brain cells in mice and flies, increasing the likelihood that neurons will branch out and connect to each other. The study endorses the theory that psychedelics could be useful in tackling depression and anxiety, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and substances abuse.
“These are some of the most powerful compounds known to affect brain function, it is very obvious to me that we must understand how they work,” explained David E. Olson, the study’s leading author.
The belief that chemical imbalances cause depression is still widespread, but new evidence has shown that depression occurs as a result of alterations in the structure of brain circuits or brain atrophy. However, this doesn’t signify that the neurons are killed during depression episodes but that the neurons are shrinking and the connection between them are fewer.
Psychedelic drugs are improving the neurons connections
“One of the characteristics of depression is that the neurites in the prefrontal cortex, a key region of the brain that regulates emotion, mood, and anxiety, tend to wither,” revealed Olson.
In their study, Olson and his colleagues experimented with psychedelic drugs such as amphetamines, tryptamines, and ergolines. Both in lab tests and during the experiments on lab mice and flies, psychedelic drugs exhibited both functional and structural alterations by inducing both the thickness of the dendrites and the volume of the synapses.
In other words, psychedelics were able to increase the neurons ability to connect with each other.
Even more, some of the psychedelic drugs Olson and his colleagues tested, such as LSD, have proven to be more powerful and efficacious than ketamine in stimulating the connections between neurons.